Five Cool and Useful Techniques for iMovie '09 and iDVD

Posted Monday, July 06, 2009

My friend and colleague Jeff Carlson, who did most of the revisions to the iMovie chapter of my book, has written a nice collection of tips for iMovie '09 and iDVD.

I highly recommend Jeff's book, which you can order through his iMovie blog--which I also highly recommend.

And while I'm recommending (and while you're ordering), permit me to humbly suggest that you grab your own copy of The Macintosh iLife '09, the latest and greatest edition of the world's top-selling iLife book.


Free Sound Effects and Motion Backgrounds

Posted Monday, June 15, 2009

Tired of using the same old sound effects in iMovie? Want some exotic new backgrounds for your iMovie titles or iDVD menu backgrounds?

A company called FootageFirm is giving away massive collections of sound effects, stock video footage, and motion backgrounds. They're charging $8.41 (USD) per DVD for shipping, but other than that, there doesn't seem to be a catch. You can even use the stuff in commercial projects without paying a royalty.

I spent a few minutes browsing the free stock footage collections, and was impressed by their diversity and quality. Recommended.

It's in stock! According to, my book is shipping. Woooo! After you order your free sound effects, order your copy of the latest, greatest edition of the world's top-selling iLife book.

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Grab Jeff Carlson's Free iDVD Chapter

Posted Friday, May 29, 2009

My friend and colleague Jeff Carlson is giving away the iDVD chapter of his book, iMovie '09 and iDVD Visual QuickStart Guide.

Jeff is a long-time Mac and technology journalist and the managing editor of the legendary TidBITS newsletter. He has also helped me revise my book for the last couple of editions, expertly tackling the iMovie and iDVD chapters.

Grab his iDVD chapter and buy his book. And pre-order mine while you're at it -- it's at the printer now, and I expect to see my first author's copy next week!


Lighting: Green Scheme for iMovie '09 Fun

Posted Friday, May 15, 2009

Popular Photography's site has a nice little piece on a $249 lighting kit that looks perfect for use with iMovie '09's new green-screening feature (you know, that feature that lets you do the "weather forecaster standing in front of a map" thing).

The Photo Basics uLite Video Lighting Kit includes two lights with softboxes (which, true to their name, provide a diffused, even light -- important for getting good green-screen results), and what looks like a generous bolt of green fabric, complete with stands for supporting it. It looks nice, not just for green-screening, but for all your interior lighting endeavors.

The article contains a couple of nice lighting tips, too. Check it out, and have a green weekend!

Monday's the day! Me, I'll be parked in front of my Mac most of this weekend, because the iLife '09 edition of my book goes to the printer on Monday. The word "yay" only begins to approximate my delight. The new edition will be the most beautiful yet. See the sidebar at right to pre-order yours!

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HD Pocket Camcorders Go Head-to-Head

Posted Monday, May 11, 2009 has a comparison of six high-definition pocket camcorders.

I adore my old Canon Elura miniDV camera -- it's one of the first ones they made, and it's built like my dad's old Bell & Howell 16mm movie camera, all heavy and rugged. (It does not, however, have a spring-wound motor -- now that would be a cool thing to have in a digital camcorder.)

But compared to these new pocketcams, it's about as bulky and heavy as my dad's 16mm camera, too. So I think I'm going to take the plunge.

PC World likes Creative's Vado HD best, followed by the wildly popular Flip MinoHD.

These puppies are all in the $200 (US) range -- nuts.

Check 'em out, along with PC World's full camcorder buying guide.

One week and counting! I've finished revisions on The Macintosh iLife '09! It's all about proofing and polishing now. The book goes to the printer one week from today -- yay! Pre-order your copy from Amazon for $26.39 (34 percent off the cover price).


iMovie 8.0.2 Update Available

Posted Monday, April 27, 2009

I'm a little late posting this, as I've been traveling and wrapping up revisions to the iLife '09 edition of my book. (Almost there!)

Anyway, Apple has posted an update to iMovie '09. The update, in Apple's words, "fixes an issue with projects having a size of 0 KB. Attempting to open these projects would cause iMovie to quit unexpectedly at launch. This Software Update also addresses a problem where full-screen mode could not be accessed on some systems."

Yay. Grab the iMovie 8.0.2 update now.


Jeff Carlson on a Cool New iMovie '09 Feature

Posted Monday, April 06, 2009

My friend and colleague Jeff Carlson has forgotten more about iMovie than I'll ever know. That's why I'm thoroughly thrilled that he agreed to revise the iMovie '09 chapter in the upcoming revised edition of my book.

Jeff has written a great blog post that details a feature Apple added to iMovie 8.0.1: a Trim to Playhead shortcut menu command that saves you a few steps when trimming a clip.

Check it out, and while you're at it, pre-order Jeff's iMovie '09 & iDVD Visual QuickStart Guide. He's revising it at this very moment -- deeply under the influence of coffee, I'm guessing.